My Childhood Home
Sunday, February 10, 2013
The home that I was raised in was a typical home for the time and neighborhood. The houses were all built around 1955, give or take a couple of years. They were build on former orange groves, or so I was told. The houses were all one-story ranch style without basements or crawl spaces. Each house had an attached two car garage, however, there were not always entrances to the garage from the house. Our house was one that did not have a direct door from the house to the garage.
The house was, technically, a two-bedroom, but we used it as a three bedroom. The house was situated on a one-sixth acre lot, just like all the other houses. The roof was so flat that there were no roof tiles as I currently know them. It had a rock roof. The rock was placed on top of black tar paper. I remember helping dad on the roof once. I was probably about 10 years old at the time. I climbed up the ladder, which was not too steep, as dad had a very long ladder, and had enough space to solidify its stance a few feet away from the house.
Anyway, we had one of those “turn left to get in the garage” sort of driveway arrangements. The front of the house had only two windows: to the full bathroom, and to the bedroom next to the bathroom in the front. That was the bedroom that my sister and I shared for a few years, at least until I turned about 9 years old. I slept on the top bunk. The street light from across the street shined into the bedroom. That was a BIG window. There was a window to that bedroom from the west sided, that ran nearly the entire length of the room, and was stationed just under the eve. I never like that window.
When I entered the home though the front door, I looked directly into the living room. For us, the living room was the “show room” that had the best furniture. During my early childhood, that furniture was a naugahyde sofa. I think it was dark red. There was also a naugahyde chair for my father. We had linoleum floor throughout the house. No carpet.
If I turned left after stepping into the “entry”, I could enter a small hall that encompassed three doorways: on the left, a half bath (later became a ¾ bath), straight ahead, the family room (later became my parent’s bedroom), and to the right, the kitchen. I do not remember kitchen before the change in the kitchen format that happened when I was about 10 years old.
If I walked into the entry and turned right, and walked through the door that was across the way, the walker would enter a SMALL hallway that held four doors. Those four doors were: the one just walked through, the one on the left, that entered my parent’s bedroom (later mine), the door straight ahead into my sister’s bedroom (the one I shared for a few years), and then to the right, the door to that full bathroom. That hallway was one of my favorite places when I was in junior high. Although this was in southern California, I LOVED to turn on the gas wall heater (one of two in the house) to fill the hallway and bathroom (when that door was opened) with HEAT for my morning tasks. That made getting up and out much easier. Then, when I was about ready to leave that side of the house, I opened my bedroom door and tried to whisk the heat into my bedroom so my mom would not know what I had done.
The back yard was huge, in my view. Keep in mind that we moved away from there the day after I graduated from high school, when I was 17. I had lived there from two months before I turned two until three months after I turned 17. So, my view is that of a child, really. The back yard was not my favorite place until dad built the wood deck under the large tree in the back. It was my duty to keep the leaves off of that deck. Dad had built the deck with a small space between each decking piece, so that I could sweep/rake the leaves off of the deck, and the small leave pieces could fall down between the spaces on the deck.
My dad built a pipe climbing apparatus for me when I was about five years old. In later years, we used that space for growing carrots and lettuce. I do not recall my sister ever using that space. The backyard, other than for those two hard scape items, was grass, except for around the edge of the property. At one point, before my active memory, everyone in the neighborhood paid for a fencing company to come through and put up five foot fencing around all the individual lots. We also had a gate between our property and the property and the property to the east of us. My mom’s friend lived there, and there was fairly frequent movement of the ladies between these properties. Our neighbor had German shepherd dogs, though, so we kids were never allowed to traverse between these properties without the direct intervention of our neighbor between us and the dogs. Those dogs were scary! They barked a lot.
My dad poured a concrete path all around the sides and back of the house for my skating. I recall that he pulled up some old concrete path, How could any concrete be “old” at a 10 year old home? Anyway, dad pulled up some old concrete and there were a LOT of pill bugs under the concrete. For some reason, I decided to pick up the pill bugs because I liked them. They were all rolled up. Then, at one moment, they all unrolled and started walking all over my hand and arm. I freaked out!!
Such was the life of this small child in my childhood home in southern California.